20th anniversary of the Russian Cultural Center in Washington
Remarks by Ambassador Anatoly Antonov at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Russian Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. and the award ceremony for the Order of Friendship
Good evening, dear ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, friends!
In December, 1999, the Russian Cultural Center opened in Washington, and today we celebrate its 20th anniversary in the U.S. Throughout all these years, regardless of the changing political situation, the Center has remained a place that embodies Russian culture, education, science – everything Russia is rightfully proud of.
The Russian Cultural Center in Washington regularly hosts meetings of our compatriots and attracts Americans of all ages who are interested in Russia. It has become a popular venue for holding conferences, concerts, recitals and movie screenings, as well as many other cultural and educational events.
Over the past years, in a complicated international environment, the Center has continued to introduce Russia’s social life, modern achievements in education and science to U.S. citizens, helped people learn the Russian language and preserve national and cultural heritage of our compatriots.
It’s hard to overestimate the significance of the Center’s activities, since public diplomacy plays a special role in promoting a positive and unifying agenda in bilateral affairs. In this regard it is necessary to come up with new channels for communication at the civil society level and expanding cultural exchange between Russia and the U.S., relying, in the first place, on friends of our country – many of whom are here with us today.
I’d like to thank each of you for being with us throughout all these years, for your best efforts to promote the common goal in the name of goodwill and peace.
Russian cultural presence in the U.S., undoubtedly, helps shape a positive image of Russia. At the same time, we do not impose anything on anyone. Americans seek to learn our history and culture themselves. As my colleagues joke: “they catch a chronic Russian disease”, which cannot be treated even with the most sophisticated anti-Russian propaganda.
It’s an honor for me to introduce to you one of these individuals, professor of Slavic studies of the Tulane University William Craft Brumfield, who has contributed and continues to contribute to the development of the Russia-U.S. relations.
Professor Brumfield is an American historian and photographer, who specializes in Russian architecture and literature. For many years professor Brumfield has been popularizing Russian cultural heritage: he has inventoried over 10 thousand Russian architectural landmarks, written 39 books published in Russian and English. Over a thousand of his photographs of the Russian Far North architecture monuments are now part of the collection of the U.S. Library of Congress, and over 100 thousand digital files, 40 thousand negatives and 12 thousand photos are kept at the U.S. National Gallery of Art. Photos taken by William Brumfield have been exhibited at many galleries and museums in the U.S., Russia, France and Canada.
Professor Brumfield received a number of regional and agency awards for his accomplishments. In 2014, he received the Likhachev Prize for “his outstanding contribution to preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of Russia”.
Today it’s a great honor for us to present professor Brumfield with a high state award of the Russian Federation – the Order of Friendship in accordance with the Russian presidential decree signed on October 26, 2019, for achievements in strengthening friendship and cooperation between the nations, fruitful activity in conciliating and mutually enriching the cultures of our nations and peoples.
Please accept our most cordial congratulations!